Pro Bono Program Student Newsletter

Pro Bono Program Student Newsletter: Tuesday, September 7, 2010

About the Pro Bono Newsletter

The Office of Public Service Programs is here to serve students who are pursuing a career in public interest law and provide opportunities for all students to engage in the School of Law's tradition of public service. Look out for the Public Service Newsletter each Monday for information about public service career opportunities, events, resources, news, and more. View past newsletters.

Events at UNC Law

Poor People's Justice: Denying Access in Civil Cases
Thursday, September 16, 12 pm, Room 5046

The UNC Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity and the UNC Pro Bono Program present a panel discussion on the difficulties of the poor in accessing the civil legal system, and what can be done to remedy this problem. It is widely estimated that 80% of the legal needs of the poor people in the U.S. go unmet. Unlike criminal cases, where poor defendants are appointed an attorney, there is no constitutional right to counsel in civil cases. The choices for someone facing the legal system without representation are bleak and few: represent oneself without legal expertise, or forgo legal claims entirely, sometimes with dire consequences. Speaking on this important topic will be:

  • Janet Ward Black, former President, North Carolina Bar Association and North Carolina Trial Lawyers Association
  • George Hausen, Executive Director, Legal Aid of North Carolina.

Gene Nichol, professor of law and director of the Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity, will moderate the discussion. A Q&A period will follow the presentations.

Booktalk: Professor Maxine Eichner on "The Supportive State: Families, Government, and America's Political Ideals"
Thursday, September 16, 4 pm, Boardroom

Professor Maxine Eichner will talk about her new book "The Supportive State: Families, Government, and America's Political Ideals,"just published by Oxford University Press. Light refreshments will be served. Please come help celebrate this accomplishment!

Save the Date!

Providing Legal Assistance in Low-Income, Rural Communities in the South
Friday, September 10, 12 pm, The Center for the Study of the American South, 410 East Franklin Street

As part of a week-long discussion of the impact of Hurricane Katrina, pro bono students will discuss their partnership with the UNC Center for Civil Rights, Legal Aid of North Carolina, the Mississippi Center for Justice, and legal offices in New Orleans to help deliver pro bono legal services to low-income families. This event is RSVP only. Please contact if you wish to attend. This event is part of a week-long exhibition called The Art of Storytelling. As part of the series, on Thursday, September 9 at 6:00 pm, an opening reception will be held where Dean Bowler will read from State Street. More information about the events.

"The Unfinished Work": Advancing New Strategies in the Struggle for Civil Rights
November 1-2, Friday Center for Continuing Education

Join the UNC Center for Civil Rights, its co-conveners and nation's most talented attorneys, advocates and scholars for a national conference dedicated to the life and career of civil rights pioneer, Julius L. Chambers. This two-day conference will unite practitioners, researchers, policymakers, community activists and students to examine the most p...romising strategies for pursuing equity and eliminating discrimination in public education, housing, democratic representation, employment and criminal justice. Issues in these areas remain at the forefront of today's civil rights struggle and while new trends in engagement, organizing and advocacy have shifted the ways we challenge racial and socioeconomic segregation and discrimination, the inequalities that these age-old problems create remain largely the same. The solutions to these debilitating issues are not simple, but they are possible to construct.

Join us as we analyze these issues and offer a range of innovative and strategic approaches for: applying the law , pursuing policy change, mobilizing well-informed grassroots activists, and encouraging the scholarly pursuit of public interest-oriented research.

Conference registration opens in mid-September. For conference updates and to join the conference mailing list, email or call 919.843.3921.

Current Pro Bono Opportunities

Projects are posted on the Pro Bono Board near the mailboxes and are listed online at Students can sign up for projects on the Pro Bono Board or email Lauren Felter at

  • Capital Trial Transcript Review,Center for Death Penalty Litigation - Durham, NC
  • Driver's License Restoration Project, NC Office of Indigent Services - Chapel Hill, NC
  • Employment Law Case Support, Glenn, Mills, Fisher & Mahoney, P.A. - Durham, NC
  • Investigation of Fraud Issues in the Hispanic Community, Nicholson Pham, PLLC - Durham, NC
  • Motion for Change of Venue Investigation, Fair Trial Initiative - Durham, NC
  • New Social Security Numbers for Victims of Domestic Violence, Southern Coalition for Social Justice - Durham, NC
  • Pretrial Advocacy Project, Orange Co. Public Defender - Carrboro, NC
  • Public Defender Internship, Orange Co. Public Defender - Pittsboro, NC
  • Race Representation on Juries, Orange Co. Public Defender - Carrboro, NC
  • SBI Crime Lab Case Review,NC Center on Actual Innocence - Durham, NC
  • Small Business/Entrepreneurial, NC LEAP - Cary, NC
  • Visiting a Death Row Inmate, Center for Death Penalty Litigation - Durham, NC
  • Wills Clinics, Southern Coalition for Social Justice - Durham, NC

Other Public Interest Opportunities

2010 Peggy Browning National Law Students Workers' Rights Conference

The Peggy Browning Fund will be holding its annual National Law Students Workers' Rights Conference on October 15-16, 2010 at the George Meany Center for Labor Studies in Silver Spring, Maryland. This is a tremendous opportunity for students interested in workers' rights. The Conference begins on Friday evening with a reception, dinner, film presentation and discussion. On Saturday, you will have the opportunity to attend workshops on all aspects of workers' rights and labor law. For more information and a registration form, visit the Fund's website.

UNC Law may select up to three students to attend the conference. Students interested in attending should have a demonstrated interest in either workers' rights issues or public interest law. Additionally, the Peggy Browning Fund will cover the conference fee, as well as on-site meals and lodging expenses, for one student from UNC Law (all students are responsible for a registration fee of $25 and transportation costs). The other two students will have to pay a conference fee and lodging expenses, in addition to the registration fee and transportation costs.

If you are interested in attending the conference, please contact Sylvia Novinsky, Assistant Dean for Public Service Programs, no later than Friday, September 17.

Law Student Writing Competition

As part of their conference "The Unfinished Work": Advancing New Strategies in the Struggle for Civil Rights in honor of Professor Julius L. Chambers, the UNC Center for Civil Rights invites all law students across North Carolina to compete in an innovative publishing project. Submissions should build on Professor Julius L. Chambers' body of work by discussing a current social justice struggle relevant to North Carolina. Papers may address any combination of legal issues relevant to the modern civil rights movement, including K-12 and higher education; housing and community development; criminal and racial justice; employment; voting rights; and/or economic justice.

Papers should original, unpublished works between 6-10 single spaced pages. The work should begin with a title page and must contain the title of the submission, the student's name, year, school and contact information including street address, phone number(s), and email address. To ensure a blind and impartial evaluation of all papers, writers should include personally identifying information (such as the writer's name or school) only on the submission's title page.Submissions are due via email to Adrienne Davis ( by 5:00 pm on Friday, October 15, 2010. For assistance in shaping a paper topic, students may contact the Center for Civil Rights' Community Development Fellow Peter Gilbert ( or Education Fellow Benita N. Jones (

Nominate a Fellow Student for the PSLawNet Pro Bono Publico Award

PSLawNet is currently seeking nominations for the Pro Bono Publico Award. If you would like to nominate a student who has made exceptional contributions to under-served populations, the public interest community, and legal education by performing pro bono or public service work, send in a nomination form by September 9, 2010. The award winner will be invited to Washington, DC to be honored during an Award Luncheon at NALP's Public Service Mini-Conference on Thursday, October 21, 2010.

Summer and Post-Graduate Employment Opportunities


Student registration for the Equal Justice Works Career Fair is now open! The Career Fair is a great opportunity for students seeking summer or post-graduate employment in the public sector. This year's fair will be held on October 22-23 in Bethesda, Maryland. Students can register online. Though the deadline to bid is September 24, we encourage students to apply for positions of interest as soon as you can. If you have any questions about the Career Fair, process for bidding, or interviews, please contact Dean Novinsky.


  • Brennan Center Summer Internship, Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law - New York, NY & Washington, DC
  • Social Justice Summer Internship, New York Lawyers for the Public Interest - New York, NY
  • Clark County Public Defender - Las Vegas, NV

Check Symplicity regularly for both summer and post-graduation opportunities.

Public Service Resources

Starting the job search? Check out the Public Interest Job Search Guide!

The Public Interest Job Search Guide provides practical advice on how to conduct your job or summer internship search, a suggested timeline for all students, a list of resources, and information about public interest law organizations. This resource will be updated soon. Access this resource.

To add items or provide feedback, please contact Sylvia Novinsky, Assistant Dean for Public Service Programs, or Mary Irvine, Public Service Fellow.

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